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Mt Hood

Issued: 6:04 PM PST Thursday, February 1, 2018
by Dallas Glass

Precipitation type will determine avalanche conditions Friday. In areas receiving snow, identify and avoid steep wind loaded slopes below cornices, with wind drifts, or near uneven snow surfaces. In locations receiving rain, avoid avalanche terrain where being caught in even a small Loose Wet avalanches could have dire consequences such as above cliffs, open creeks, or gullies.

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Avalanche Problems for Friday

Wind Slabi

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Loose Weti

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Forecast for Friday:

Warm wet weather will continue to drive avalanche conditions on Friday. Avalanche hazard will be largely dependent on precipitation type and intensities.

In locations receiving snow, strong winds will continue to build new Wind Slabs on lee slopes. You will be able to trigger these avalanches in steep terrain where winds are depositing snow. Avoid steep slopes below cornices, with wind drifts, or near uneven snow surfaces.

Very large avalanches have occurred above treeline in the past week. While these avalanches may be nearly impossible for a backcountry traveler to trigger, there is a high degree of uncertainty around these slab releases. Caution should be taken if traveling above treeline or through the tracks and runouts of avalanche paths originating above treeline.

In areas receiving rain, wet surface snow will lead to Loose Wet avalanche conditions. Watch for new roller balls and pinwheels as these are signs that you are more likely to trigger an avalanche. Avoid steep slopes with wet surface snow. Extra caution should be taken in terrain where even small avalanches could have dangerous consequences.

Avalanche Summary:

As of Thursday afternoon, 4-8 inches of settled snow sits above the 1/29 crust layers. Observations indicate the recent snow is well bonded to the old crust.

A long and stormy last two weeks of January built deep Wind Slabs near and above treeline. During a break in the weather, explosives were able to trigger multiple very large avalanches. The avalanches entrained significant snow becoming very large and destructive. Reports indicate some of these avalanches destroyed mature trees.

Observations

On Thursday, NWAC pro-observer Laura Green traveled in Newton and Heather Canyons. She found light rain beginning to wet the snow surface by mid-afternoon. Winds were increasing throughout the day.

On Wednesday, Mt Hood Meadows Pro Patrol reported the surface snow was sculpted by recent winds creating variable snow surfaces and scoured ridgelines. Below treeline, 6-8" of snow was well bonded to the 1/29 semi-supportable crust. 

Mt Hood Meadows Pro Patrol Sunday reported multiple very large artillery-released avalanches with crowns up to 12 ft range, running on steep NE and ENE terrain above treeline and travelling very long distances, in one case snapping 20+ year old trees.

No Corresponding Mountain Weather Forecast Available